EH-5 Classification of Chemical Occurrence
All events at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that
could adversely affect the public or DOE worker health
and safety, including those that are chemical-related,
are reported in the DOE Occurrence Reporting and Processing
System (ORPS). Under ORPS, events are filtered through
a descriptive classification scheme to allow better
understanding the nature of the occurrences. Often,
however, occurrences involving chemicals or chemical
safety events and conditions are classified under broad
categories that obscure the identification of chemical
involvement. EH-HQ has been monitoring ORPS and extracting
all chemical-related occurrences for tracking, analyzing
and trending since August 1992. Much of this work and
the classification of these incidents had been performed
by contractors up to the end of September 1998, following
which time all such tasks were assumed by DOE HQ EH-52.
This was consistent with DOE HQ policy at the time of
doing more with the existing federal work force and
relying less on contractors. Contributing to this decision
were problems with past reporting where a lack of clarity
for classifying chemical occurrences resulted in numerous
inconsistencies in categorizing accidents and incidents.
An EH HQ committee was subsequently formed to prepare
improved guidance and classification criteria. Occurrences
were categorized into four better-defined classes. Briefly
stated, these classes are:
Class 1: Occurrences characterized by serious energy
release, injury or exposure requiring medical treatment,
or severe environmental damage.
Class 2: Occurrences characterized by minor injury
or exposure, or reportable environmental release.
Class 3: Occurrences that were near misses including
notable safety violations.
Class 4: Minor occurrences.
These four classes are defined in detail under the
following section on Guidance for Chemical Occurrence
Reporting. Subclasses A, B, C, D, and E were introduced
to account for the types of occurrences, i.e., chemical
injury, chemical exposure, environmental, energy release,
and "other", respectively.